Mavs From the Past: Antoine Wright

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Antoine Wright spent most of his time in the NBA as a role player for many different teams including the Dallas Mavericks. He had an NBA career that spanned half a decade and a basketball career that took him around the world.

Early Life

Wright attended Lawrence Academy prep school where he played on the basketball team for three seasons. In his three years on the team, he started 115 games and scored over 1800 points, grabbed 500 rebounds, amassed 350 assists, got 170 steals, and blocked 200 shots. 

He was named All-ISL and the team MVP in his sophomore year. 

The following season he was named MVP of the 2001 state playoffs, and he was again named an All-ISL and All-Scholastic Honors.

In his senior year, he was ranked the No. 1 prep shooting guard in the country and the overall fourth-best prospect by ESPN. He was also named a third-team Parade All-American.

In 2002, he joined the USA Basketball Junior World Championship Qualifying Team and earned a bronze medal with them. The team then qualified for the 2003 FIBA Junior World Championships, where they beat the Dominican Republic before losing to Venezuela.

College Years

Wright was heavily recruited by many schools but ultimately chose Texas A&M University since they saw his potential before all the other schools came knocking at his door.

Wright immediately became a starter for the Aggies. In his first season on the team, he averaged 14.5 points per game (PPG), 6.6 rebounds per game (RPG), 1.8 assists per game (APG), 1.3 steals per game (SPG), and 0.7 blocks per game (BPG) while starting in all but one of the team’s 28 games. The Aggies finished conference play 6-10, eighth in the Big 12 Conference, and missed out on the NCAA tournament. They did however finish their year with a .500 record, going 14-14 for the season. Wright’s successful first season on the team earned him a spot on the All-Big 12 second-team and he was named the Big 12 Rookie of the Year.

Wright’s stats decreased a little in his second year on the team but he continued to be an impactful starter on the Aggies. He put up 13.5 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.9 SPG, and 0.3 BPG while starting in 26 of the team’s 28 games. Texas A&M had an even rougher year in conference play, losing every game against their conference rivals, and finishing last in the Big 12 with a 0-16 record, getting nowhere close to qualifying for the NCAA tournament. They finished off their season on a 17-game losing streak and ended up with a 7-21 record for the year. Wright was named an honorable mention All-Big 12.

Wright improved in his junior year, leading the team in points and steals and second in blocks. He averaged 17.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.7 BPG while starting in all but one of the team’s 31 games. The Aggies had a decent year when it came to conference games, going 8-8 for the season, and finishing seventh in the Big 12, but it still wasn’t enough to make March Madness. The team did however get an invite to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) where they defeated Clemson University and DePaul University, before getting eliminated in the quarterfinals by St. Joseph’s University. The Aggies finished their season with a winning record of 21-10.

Welcome to the NBA

Wright was drafted 15th overall by the New Jersey Nets.

His first season with the Nets didn’t start off as expected, as he began the season on the inactive list, but slowly earned some playing time as the season progressed, and eventually earned a rotational spot. He became a regular off the bench in his second and third year with the team, even getting some opportunities as a starter. In his two-and-a-half seasons with the Nets, he averaged 4.6 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.9 APG, and 0.4 SPG while starting in 33 of his 143 games with the team.

The Nets made the playoffs both full years Wright was on the team but were eliminated in the second round both times. In his 17 playoff games with the team, he averaged 2.9 PPG, 1.4 RPG, and 0.1 APG while coming off the bench in all of them.

The Dallas Mavericks Years

Halfway through the 2007-08 season, Wright was part of a trade that sent Jason Kidd, Malik Allen, and him to the Mavericks.

In his first half-season with the team, he played in 15 games, all off the bench, and averaged 3.5 PPG, 1.5 RPG, and 0.9 APG. The Mavs finished the season 51-31, a record good enough to finish seventh in the conference. Dallas faced the New Orleans Hornets in the first round of the playoffs where they lost the series in five games. Wright took part in one of the playoff games, where he played seven minutes off the bench and grabbed one rebound.

Wright’s 2008-09 season with the Mavericks was much better than his first half-season with them. He put up 7.3 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.2 APG, and 0.7 SPG while starting in 53 of his 65 games played. For the first time in his NBA career, Wright was primarily used as a starter and he was able to showcase his full potential. Dallas finished sixth in the West with a 50-32 record. The Mavericks were able to defeat their rivals, the San Antonio Spurs, in five games, before getting eliminated themselves in the following round, by the Denver Nuggets, in another five-game series. Wright took part in all of the playoff games and got the opportunity to start in half of them. In the playoffs, he put up 5.9 PPG, 1.3 RPG, and 1.0 APG.

Final Years in the NBA

During the 2009 offseason, Wright was traded to the Toronto Raptors as part of a four-team trade. He spent one season on the Raptors where he returned to his bench role. In his lone season on the team, he averaged 6.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.1 APG, and 0.4 SPG while coming off the bench in all but 10 of his 63 games played with the team. The Raptors finished the season ninth in the Eastern Conference with a 40-42 record, barely missing out on the playoffs by one game.

The following offseason he signed as a free agent with the Sacramento Kings. His Kings career was short-lived as he was waived a month into the season. He came off the bench in seven games and managed to put up 0.3 PPG and 0.4 RPG with the team. That would be his final stop in the NBA.

Even though Wright’s time on the Mavericks wasn’t very long, it gave him the chance to show his potential as a starter. In his one-and-a-half year with the Mavs, he played his best basketball in the NBA as he averaged 6.6 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 1.6 APG, and 0.6 SPG while getting the opportunity to start in 58 games with the team.

International and G League Career

Wright continued his basketball career overseas, signing with the Jiangsu Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) on December 31, 2010.

The following year he signed with Club Baloncesto Estudiantes of the Spanish league,  Asociación de Clubes de Baloncesto (ACB).

Wright continued his international basketball career the following year when he signed with Guaiqueries de Margarita of the Venezuelan Basketball League, known as la Liga Profesional de Baloncesto.

That same year he signed a G League contract with the Reno Bighorns, the Utah Jazz’s G League team at the time.

He returned to Guaiqueries de Margarita the following year.

He then joined the Barak Netanya, an Israeli team, that same year.

The following year, in 2014, he joined Halcones de Xalapa, a Mexican team that plays in the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional (LNBP).

In 2016, he signed with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, a professional basketball team in the Philippines Basketball Association (PBA). His time with the team ended after only four games as he underperformed and the team went 1-3.

Wright finished off his basketball career in 2016 with the Tijuana Zonkeys, a Mexican basketball team that plays in the Circuito de Baloncesto de la Costa del Pacífico (CIBACOPA).

Personal Life

In 2021, Wright along with 17 other former NBA players were charged with attempting to scam the NBA’s Health and Welfare Benefit Plan out of almost $4 million.

Legacy

Wright’s best years on the court came in high school and college. Even though he didn’t reach the same level of success in the NBA, he still made the NBA and played in the league for half a decade, which that in itself is a huge achievement. Wright was a reliable role player no matter which team he was on. Even after he finished up his time in the NBA, he continued to play the sport he loved.



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